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Clean Eating with Children

clean eating

I asked my friend Amy, “How do you eat clean with children?” Here’s what she had to say:
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Healthy eating can be tricky with children if not down right gravity defying. If it wasn’t important we wouldn’t all be trying so hard to do it. Am I right?? Or am I right? Right? Right?? (sorry, just watched Groundhog Day.) Over the years, I’ve had lots of success and lots of super frustrated (read tearful) dinners. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

Make it normal.
This is not a veggie smoothie with kale hidden inside. I know many have success with the sauce-of-many-colors, but for me, I am more of a “This is kale. It’s good for you. Eat it”. Now, for the youngsters, it was a little dicey; maybe only a few bites at first (I’ll get to my secret weapon later). They now eat kale and, although they love their potatoes, they will eat it without complaint.

Another thing that I’ve done successfully is teaching my children about food: Where does it come from? Why do we want to eat it? (Especially vs other foods that they may be asking for ). It’s been a great success for us as a family. Even with our meat. What is this meat? What animal does it come from? What does this animal eat? etc.

So, you ready for a small secret weapon I love? Chocolate covered bananas. We have made frozen chocolate covered bananas for a long while. We also buy them from trader joes. Two little slices of frozen banana delight has staved off many a dinner time fiasco. Believe me.

Tips for Eating Clean

 

fran free, oh baby foods, clean eating, organic, nongmoThe topic of clean eating is a hot one. We want to offer the best possible nutrition for our family, but it can be complicated & we’re busy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some tips from a pro? That’s exactly why I interviewed Fran Free, the owner of Oh Baby Foods, to get her tips on eating clean.

1) What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to learn about eating clean?

When I think about “clean” eating, I think about food on a very basic level. I envision a sweet potato. It’s whole, it’s bright orange (which means its chock full o’ vitamins), and its pretty delicious. Step 1): Take that ingredient and think about the different shapes you can make it. Step 2): Think about lightly spicing it up. Step 3): Think about the different ways to cook/prepare it. Now, with each of those steps envision those nutrients and how your body needs them; think about how to preserve them, make them fun and beautiful, and use them to their full potential. Keep in mind nutrition and aesthetics.

For example, a sweet potato.

Step 1): cut it into sweet potato fries

Step 2): toss with coconut oil and herbs (like rosemary) and a touch of salt

Step 3): bake them in the oven.

Another example, green beans.

Step 1): wash and snap off the ends,

Step 2): toss with olive oil and herbs (like dill or mint) and a touch of salt

Step 3): steam them.

Another example, snack time for kids. Step 1) cube some organic cheese, half some strawberries, Step 2): congrats, just skip this step, and Step 3): stack them on a skewer for the kids to eat immediately (or later).

2) What tips have you learned that make it easier on a mom of young children?

Focus on the fun shapes! We don’t make separate meals for kids and adults at our house. We all eat the same things. Sometimes fun shapes are needed to get over that hump of trying something new or when we sit down with kids who have skipped nap time or are feeling particularly cranky. It’s amazing what happens to a full plate of food when you cut it up and stick it all on skewers. I also use little flags and umbrellas.

3) What are some ways to save money on the higher priced items?

Three things:

(1) Buy in bulk when it’s available.

(2) Go for the organic whole chicken and make several meals out of it. We get up to four family meals out of it, ending with bone broth soup, which keeps us healthy in the winter.

(3) Also, shop by the EWG’s Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen. You may be spending more money on something that is organic, when its not a crop that really requires a lot of fertilizers or pesticides or who’s seed is even developed as a GMO, such as an avocado or many herbs. You may also be buying something that is not organic, that you really really really should. Strawberries, peaches, and spinach are examples.

4) Where do you go for clean recipes?

Eating is a job that involves the whole body, especially the eyes. I’m not making anything unless it’s pretty, so I spend time on Google images and Pinterest.I rely on Martha Stewart for basic foundational recipes, but often substitute the empty calorie ingredients for more nutrient-dense ingredients. I love Tasting Table for when I have extra time and need a creativity outlet, usually for date night with my hubby. Don’t go there looking for healthy recipes, but rather fun and clean, with whole foods.

5) Any tips for kid-friendly clean eating?

Again, go for fun shapes, flags, skewers, anything that turns a normal meal into an impromptu festival where utensils aren’t allowed. We use basic, minimally-cooked whole foods, and add herbs for taste. We stay away from hot spice with our kids, but they love complex flavors as long as they recognize the main ingredient. My two most-used pieces of kitchen equipment are the food processor (to hide sautéed kale and mushrooms) and mini-muffin tins (we make “poppers” out of sautéed veggies, leftover rice, chicken bone broth, pureed butternut squash, etc).

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Great tips! Hope these serve as a good start. We’re love to hear from you! What tips do you have? What works?

If You Only Do Four Things

four things, mom, kids, babies, working mom, oh baby foods, organic, nongmo

This one life we have goes by too quickly. Our life gets filled up with papers, appointments, meetings, obligations, bills, stress, so much. We struggle to find peace & balance; quiet & stillness in the chaos. Let’s make things less complicated, ok?

Just stop.  Put down everything & let’s get back to the essential, life-giving things.

With that in mind, I propose some simplification. If you can only do four things for yourself as a mom to keep balance; to keep from running yourself into the ground with all of the crazy…make sure you do these 4 things:

#1: REST, get sleep, nap, pause for peace. Give yourself the chance to be refreshed, if only for a few moments. Take the chance to rest when you have it.

sleep, rest, oh baby foods, mom

 

#2: EAT CLEAN. Eat foods that bring nourishment to your tired mama body. Hydrate. Choose organic, non-GMO, locally grown foods. Strong body. Energetic mama.CLEAN EATING, ORGANIC, NONGMO, GMOS, HEALTHY, MOMS, OH BABY FOODS

 

#3: GET OUTSIDE:

 Even it means, strapping the baby on your back, get out there and enjoy the beauty that is our world. It’s like vitamins to your soul. You need this.

OUTSIDE, get outside, oh baby foods, organic, moms, get out

#4: HAVE FUN: LOVE your life & play.  Really! Get together with your friends, have date nights with your partner, get SILLY with your kids! LAUGHTER is the best medicine & all that. Don’t waste precious moments by stressing & busy-ness. Be present in your own life.

fun, mom, fun mom, oh baby foods, baby food, organic

Gifts for Toddlers You Can Make Yourself

christmas. last-minute, handmade, kids, toddlers

 

If you’re like us, you MIGHT get a wild hair the week before Christmas & decide you’re going to make something for your children for Christmas.  So, if that’s the case, we’ve rounded up some really cute, fun & fairly easy ideas.

1) Travel Art Folio

We actually have one of these & it’s super helpful when you’re at a restaurant, on a plane or need to take your littles somewhere they might get bored. Click on the picture to check out the tutorial.

kids, toddlers, handmade, christmas

Lots of Pink Here!

2) Snowflake Frozen-esque Ornament

If you didn’t want it to be an ornament, you could attach it to her stocking, to a present, to a pillow or add it to a hat, backpack, bow or shirt.  The possibilities are endless!

kids, frozen, craft, ornament, xmas, christmas, Elsa, Disney

Disney Family

3) Photo book

Love this idea!  If you have time, totally consider making one of these. Fun keepsake as well!

kids, babies, toddlers, picture book, handmade, gift

Joyful Abode

4) Their very own garden

I am actually going to make this for my kids because it’s so awesome.  They need it.  So so precious.

kids, toddlers, craft, gift, handmade, garden, felt

A Beautiful Mess

5) Personalized Board Book

This is similar to the idea above, but it’s a fun reuse of an old board book. Such a cute idea.

book

6)  Hand-sewn Matching Game

I love this idea.  It would be pretty easy to whip up if you’re handy with a sewing machine.  You could even do a felt & yarn version of that worked better for you.  Lots of different ways you take it.

christmas, kids, toddlers, hand-made, last-minute, xmas

The Purl Bee

Whatever you decide to do, hope you have the merriest of Christmas seasons!christmas, babies, oh baby foods

Oh Baby Foods Frozen Fruit Drops for Your Little Teether

 

Oh Baby Foods, baby food, organic, non-GMO

If you have a teether at home right now, than you know it can be challenging to find something to soothe those sore gums. In our house, we have tried to stay away from pain medicine when we could.  So, we looked for other options like frozen teething toys, homeopathic teething gel & tablets, or a frozen rag to chew on. There are so many neat ideas out there to try!

We had some customers, Dave & Tami Marks, contact us the other day with this sweet way they were using our purées as a little teething soother & yummy treat for their little one.

Here’s a fun option at mealtime for your little one: Oh Baby Foods Frozen Fruit Drops. The best possible nutrition outside of breast milk. Non-GMO, certified organic, US grown goodness. So simple to make, too! So simple to make, too. Just squeeze little dime-sized drops of our purées onto your parchment lined baking sheet. Once you have filled it up, put the pan in the freezer until solid.

This what they look like when you take them out:

toddlers, babies, teething, frozen drops

You can store them in a container in your freezer & use them as you need them!

oh baby foods, organic, non-GMO, baby food

Kid approved!

Oh Baby Foods, baby food, organic, non-GMO, babies

Thankful Tom the Turkey Game

 

THANKFUL, THANKSGIVING, KIDS, TODDLERS, GAME

If you’re like us, we are always looking for a way to teach our children about what it means to be grateful; thankful. Thanksgiving serves as a reminder to pass this value onto our children & cultivate it our own lives as well.

We wanted to think of some way to do this Thanksgiving.  We wanted to do something to make it fun to learn, as a family, to be thankful. We came up with Thankful Tom the Turkey Game & we wanted to share that with you.

Here’s what you need:

 

thanksgiving, game, kids,

You can:

Print out this turkey, trace him & this feather stencil & cut them out from colored construction paper. Maybe add some googly eyes.

thankful, thanksgiving, kids, game

Or you can print these full color leaves to use as feathers. You could also use actual leaves, or feathers for your turkey.

 

thankful, thanksgiving, kids, game

Glue or tape your turkey to the front of your brown tissue box (you can buy a brown one or just paint whatever box you have). Then, fan the feather/leaves and tape them to the back of your box.

Next, print these cards out (use cardstock for sturdier cards):

thankful, thanksgiving, kids, game

 

How to play:

Everyone gets a card.  Each person writes what they’re thankful for & puts it in the turkey box.  Once, everyone has had a chance to do it, each person takes one out of the box & tries to guess who’s card they have.

Those who guess theirs correctly could win a prize. You could also do round 2 for those who guessed correctly.

We hope that you have fun with it.  We’d love to hear how it goes!

 

 

 

 

GMO Field Trip: Let’s Follow the Life of a GMO

GMOs

GMO Field Trip: Let’s follow the life of a GMO

The fifth & final post in the blog series GMOs: What’s the Big Deal? by Oh Baby Foods Mother & Founder, Fran B. Free

In finalizing our blog series on GMOs, I aim to wrap-up insight into the little acronym & why it evokes strong feelings (of something) for just about everyone. Again, some believe GMOs are harmless & necessary, others believe they are unsafe, unproven & find the act of messing with DNA terrifying.

In last week’s post, I discussed the political landscape of GMOs, which is so volatile that it has probably changed since that post. I’m here again this week & this time for a field trip. Let’s follow the life of the most popular of GMOs: the illustrious soybean.

It’s no secret that I was raised on a conventional farm & my family still runs that farm; conventionally. Growing up around conventional crops & GMOs encouraged me to pursue my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Soil & Water Science and following, my master’s degree in Agricultural Economics. Oh Baby’s foundation of US grown, non-GMO, organic attributes is a direct result of my early years in ag.

Now, let’s embark on that field trip. Let’s talk about why we’re following the soybean today & why it was chosen to be developed. We’ll then see how it’s planted, how it grows, how it’s harvested, sold, & consumed. Ready? Okay.

Why should we follow the soybean today?

This little legume represents over ½ of all GM acreage planted. USDA ERS records show that 94% of all 2014 soy acreage planted in the US is GM. (USDA ERS)

Why was this crop developed?

Obviously, soy is an important crop for US growers. It is mostly grown for animal production, also for food processing aids, & a little for direct consumption. The USDA states that herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops, such as the soybean, were “developed to survive application of specific herbicides that previously would have destroyed the crop along with the targeted weeds, provide farmers with a broader variety of options for effective weed control.” (USDA ERS)

The reason & goal, ultimately, is efficiency. Because farmers aren’t confined to mechanical tillage to control emerging weeds, they can now plant rows closer together (getting a better yield/acre) & save time by a broad application of Roundup (via aerial spray, for example) without worrying about killing their beans with herbicide…because remember, these beans are now HT: herbicide resistant.

Now, how does this work?

Monsanto developed the technology for glyphosate herbicides like Roundup in 1970 &, by 2007, glyphosate was the most used herbicide in the US agricultural sector. Popular stuff, right? So, why not develop this product further; integrate it? They did & here’s how.

Enter: Roundup Ready Soybean. Monsanto developed this seed, owns the technology patent & broadly leases licensing rights to other seed companies. As of 2009, the Roundup family represented over 50% of Monsanto’s business (Monsanto). A farmer may purchase the seed from another brand, but ultimately, they’re buying it from Monsanto.

Okay, here we go on our field trip, step by step:

(1) So, the farmer buys the seed. In order to do this, he/she also takes two additional MANDATORY steps: (1) buy Roundup (yes, mandatory) & (2) sign a user agreement that states they will not save seed from the crop, use in other ways not permissible as seen by Monsanto, etc. Side note: Monsanto has tried to legally put on the market their “terminator” technology, which would cause sterile seed to ensure the farmer doesn’t save viable seed, but they are yet to convince the courts. Hence, seed currently spreads into the wild, and also into fields of nonGMO-planted crops. Monsanto has successfully sued farmers whose fields have these “fly away” seeds, even though they did not plant them. Google it; there are lots of cases out there. Crazy, I know.

(2) The farmer then plants to seed.

(3) Once the seedlings emerge, so do weeds. That’s normal and natural. Side note: an acre of soil contains millions of “weed” seeds that are just waiting for the right conditions. Opportunists, those little weeds.

(4) The farmer sprays the field, killing the weeds, but not the soy seedlings. This gives the crop enough of a head start to grow & shade out most new weed growth.

(5) The remainder of the field life of that bean is basically the same as conventionally-grown, non-GMO, non-organic soy. The farmer cares for the plants, give them water, synthetic fertilizer, monitors for insects, sprays a defoliant before harvest, etc.

(6) The beans are harvested & sent to either a dryer/storage (with pest control, of course) grain broker, processor, etc.

(7) It eventually goes to market & gets consumed either by (1) animals, in the form of feed (pre-steak or bacon for people), or (2) by humans, directly (there are TONS of processed foods on the shelves with soy lecithins and proteins).

You know that free edamame that’s offered with your sushi lunch? Skip it. You’ve got a 94% chance that edamame is GM, has new-to-humans proteins & lecithins (sorry, no time to go into all that in this post) & has seen at least three or so applications of pesticide.

& that, in a nut shell, is how it works.

Thank you again for following these posts this month during Non-GMO Month. I’ve enjoyed dedicating time to look over new & emerging topics in the GM world, and taking time to write, something that I normally don’t get to do. Now, I’ve got to get back to the kitchen to develop new & exciting GMO-free products for your baby & your growing family.

Did you miss any of the posts this moth on GMOs: What’s the Big Deal? It’s okay, they’re still here:

Friday, 10/3/2014       GMOs: It’s Personal
Friday, 10/10/2014     GMOs: The What, the How, the Why
Friday, 10/17/2014     GMOs: Environmental & Health Concerns
Friday, 10/24/2014     GMOs: Political Landscape
Friday, 10/31/2014     GMO Field Trip: Let’s follow the life of a GMO

Until next time,
Fran B. Free

 

Sources:

USDA ERS – Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Recent Trends in GE Adoption. (2014, June 14). Retrieved October 29, 2014, from http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.asp

GM crops: Top ten facts and figures. (2014, June 2). Retrieved October 29, 2014, from http://knowledge.allianz.com/environment/food_water/?500/gm-crops-facts-and-figures

Monsanto. (2014, October 30). Retrieved October 31, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto

Healthy Halloween Snacks How-To

 Healthy Halloween Snack How-To

Spooky snacks without all of the sugar.

-Witch’s Fingers: Dip pretzel sticks in white chocolate candy melts colored green with spinach powder & place a sliced almond on the end for a fingernail.

-Ghosts: Half banana & add licorice for smiles & eyes.

– Mummies: hot dogs with puff pastry & ketchup eyes: Cut the phyllo squares into strips which you’ll wrap around the hot dog & then bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Add ketchup for red eyes!

– Witch’s Brooms: Fold a mozzarella cheese slice & use scissors to cut strips along the end. Fold it around the end of a pretzel stick. Use a chive to tie it on on to the end & secure in place.

Healthy Halloween Snacks

The egg carton makes the perfect serving dish.

From us to you, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! ENJOY!!!!

Healthy Halloween Snacks

Fran with her spooky creations.

GMOs: Political Landscape

GMOs

The fourth in the blog series GMOs: What’s the Big Deal? by Oh Baby Foods Mother & Founder, Fran B. Free

In continuing with our blog series on GMOs, I aim to gather insight into the little acronym and why it evokes strong feelings (of something) for just about everyone. Again, some believe GMOs are harmless and necessary, others believe they are unsafe, unproven, and find the act of messing with DNA terrifying.

In last week’s post, I discussed environmental and health concerns. I’m here again this week, and this time to give a factual overview of the political landscape of biotech (GMO).

I’m sticking with the facts on this one, because it can get really heated. And because the status is constantly changing with each new ballot measure in the US, it can get really complicated. To keep this simple, and fun, let’s approach this as a Q&A session.

Q. How many states require labeling of GMOs?
A. 64 countries

Q. Is the US one of these countries?
A. No. The US does not require labeling of GMOs.

Q. Seriously?
A. Yes, seriously. There are a number of developed nations that do require labeling, such as 15 nations in the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and even China…but not the US.

Q. But didn’t I just hear something on the news recently, something about a celebration Vermont because of GMO labeling?
A. Yes, Vermont was the third US state to vote and send the message of “Yes! Label my food!” States are allowed to take the measure to ballot, to let their citizens decide.

Q. So, which states require GMO labeling?
A. Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont

Q. How many states have voted, but the ballot failed?
A. 3 states

Q. How many states have introduced legislation, without making it the ballot?
A. 26 states

Q. Which states have introduced the measure and will soon see it on their ballot?
A. Oregon residents will see it on their ballot in November 2014; that’s just a little over a week away!

Q. I don’t see my state listed. What can I do to change my state’s status? How can I support GMO labeling in my state?
A. Visit your state legislators. Who are they? Find them here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

Q. So, sounds like it is up to the state right now to take action. Is there a federal bill that’s currently being considered to blanket the US in a single label law?
A. Yes; there is one bill that was introduced in both the Senate and the House in April 2013:

S. 809, The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act was introduced by Senator Boxer (D-CA) in April 2013. It was read twice, then assigned to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to consider before it may have the chance to go to the full floor for discussion.

H.R. 1699, The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act was introduced by Representative DeFazio (D-OR). It was assigned to the Committee on Health to consider before it may have the chance to go to the full floor for discussion.

Q. Is there a federal bill that’s currently being considered to toss out state-mandatory label laws?
A. Yes: H.R. 4432, The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014 was introduced in April 2014 by Representative Pompeo (R-KS). It was then referred to the House subcommittee on Health. There has been no movement on this since it was introduced, which means that as of today, any state-mandatory label law stands.

Q. Tell me exactly how that bill would prevent GMO labeling laws, on a state and federal basis.
A. You may have heard it dubbed The D.A.R.K (Deny Americans Right to Know) Act, H.R. 4432 aims to keep US consumers from seeing mandatory GMO labeling by doing three things:
–  Prevent states from adopting their own GMO labeling laws.
–  Block states from making it illegal for food companies to put a “natural” label on products that contain GMO ingredients.
– Prevent the FDA from requiring companies to label GMO ingredients and instead continue a “voluntary” labeling policy, which has so far not proven successful.

Q. Why can’t the FDA do something now? Don’t they have the power to mandate a label on food that is “unsafe” without…literally…an act of Congress?
A. Short answer: yes. The FDA has the power to remove food from the grocery shelf that is “unsafe.” Long answer: GMOs have not yet been proven “unsafe” for Americans to consume.

Q. What can I personally do to support The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act?
A. I recommend working through the Center for Food Safety. Visit http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/1881/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=10418 and take it from there! Doesn’t it feel good to take a little action?

Okay, so you’ve just read through this post. It is already outdated? Please share the latest data here in the comments. And come back next week when we pack up and go on a field trip to follow the life of a GMO.

Topics for GMOs: What’s the Big Deal? Blog series, every Friday this October:
Friday, 10/3/2014      GMOs: It’s Personal
Friday, 10/10/2014    GMOs: The What, the How, the Why
Friday, 10/17/2014    GMOs: Environmental & Health Concerns
Friday, 10/24/2014    GMOs: Political Landscape
Friday, 10/31/2014    GMO Field Trip: Let’s follow the life of a GMO

Until next Friday,
Fran B. Free

Sources:
Labeling Around the World. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2014, from http://justlabelit.org/right-to-know/labeling-around-the-world/

H.R.4432 – Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014113th Congress (2013-2014). (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2014, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/4432

Congress MUST Reject the ‘Deny Americans Right-to-Know Act’ (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://livingmaxwell.com/dark-act

S.809 – Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act113th Congress (2013-2014). (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2014, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/809

H.R.1699 – Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act113th Congress (2013-2014). (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2014, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/1699

Center for Food Safety | Fact Sheets | GE Food Labeling: States Take Action. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2014, from http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/fact-sheets/3067/ge-food-labeling-states-take-action#

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GMOs: Environmental and Health Concerns

New GMO Graphic Enviromental

The third in the blog series GMOs: What’s the Big Deal? by Oh Baby Foods Mother & Founder, Fran B. Free

In continuing with our blog series on GMOs, I aim to gather insight into the little acronym and why it evokes strong feelings (of something) for just about everyone. Again, some believe GMOs are harmless and necessary, others believe they are unsafe, unproven, and find the act of messing with DNA terrifying.

In last week’s post, I ran through the basics of The What, The How, and The Why GMO’s exist. I’m here again this week, and this time to discuss environmental and health concerns of biotech (GMO).

Environmental Concerns:
Having a degree in Environmental Soil and Water Science, it would be too facile to say here that many of my personal anxieties with GMO point to environmental. My main environmental uneasiness is that (1) not only are GMOs failing to meet their goals, but are actually augmenting the very issues they set out to address, and (2) …well, GMOs are very much unknown.

INSUFFICIENT DATA
Not only is this technology new, but the data is largely non-existent or “protected” due to the fact that (1) risk assessments and subsequent results for a new GMO approval is conducted and provided by the company seeking the approval, and (2) due to current intellectual property laws, research rights on these products are reserved for the owner of that patent. Next week’s blog post is focused on these two points and the political landscape, so I won’t spend much time on that here.

SUPERWEEDS
I’m not sure who coined this phrase; it’s not my favorite, but it is accurate. Weeds that are target pests have evolved to become resistant and highly unmanageable. Glyphosate-resistant crops (i.e. “Roundup Ready” varieties) are GMO plants that are modified to enable them to live through an application of Roundup, but the weeds growing next to them in the field should not. Back when glyphosate-resistant crops were a new technology, those weeds did die. But today, they are not only surviving, they’re flourishing. They are flourishing in the fields and they’re flourishing in non-farm settings, and they can’t be killed as easily as they used to be. You know how we’re warned to only use antibiotics when our kids really need them, that an overuse could lead to a “super bug” that will one day not respond to antibiotics? Well, that’s what we have here today.

INCREASED USE of PESTICIDES
One of the very first touted benefits of GMOs was (and still is) “decreased use of pesticides,” but ag studies are now showing the complete opposite. In fact, with many GMOs (cotton, corn, and soybeans, for example), farmers are increasing their herbicide use by up to 25% annually (Benbrook) on GMO crops. In addition, farmers are turning to older, more toxic pesticides to pick up where Roundup can’t do the job any longer. Much of that has to do with the “superweeds” that we just discussed.


Health Concerns:
Without a control group and laboratory tests on humans, we really don’t know the effects that GMOs are having and will have on our bodies. There have been laboratory tests conducted on rats showing infertility, immune system and insulin regulation issues, and distressed gastrointestinal systems, among others. Farm animals that have grazed on GMO crops have experienced extreme health complications and even fatality. I cannot personally vouch for any of these tests or claims, and I continue to search for sound science. Please share with me reputable sources if you have them!

NEW ALLERGENS
Having a gluten sensitivity and spending my creative time developing new Oh Baby Foods products for a wide audience, allergies are very often on my mind. So, when I think about the case of a gene from a Brazil nut being transferred into soybean DNA and causing an allergic reaction, I cringe…and I’m also thankful. This 1996 study led to the cancellation of a GMO project who’s goal was to take to market a nutritionally superior soybean, and in the testing process, a positive allergic reaction was found, which led to the absolute acknowledgement that GMOs can transfer allergenic proteins into crops. Knowing this last point is exactly what startles me and affirms my stance on not GMOs in baby food.

What health concerns concern you? Please share your thoughts. And come back next week when we look at the political landscape of GMOs.

Topics for GMOs: What’s the Big Deal? Blog series, every Friday this October:
Friday 10/3/2014     GMOs: It’s Personal
Friday 10/10/2014   GMOs: The What, the How, the Why
Friday 10/17/2014   GMOs: Environmental & Health Concerns
Friday 10/24/2014   GMOs: Political Landscape
Friday 10/31/2014   GMO Field Trip: Let’s follow the life of a GMO

Until next Friday,
Fran B. Free

 

Sources:

Benbrook, D. (2012, September 28). Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. — the first sixteen years. Retrieved October 16, 2014, from http://www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24

Genetic Engineering in Agriculture. (n.d.). Retrieved October 16, 2014, from http://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/food-agriculture/our-failing-food-system/genetic-engineering-agriculture#.VEDo7CldUm8

Genetically modified food controversies. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies